"The crackdown came after the protests spilled over to at least one other city and a major protest on Friday loomed. Weather experts say 97 percent of the country is dealing with water scarcity issues."
"For two weeks the Iranian government tolerated growing protests over scarce water supplies in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, watching them grow as restaurants served demonstrators free soup and barbers offered free haircuts. State television even aired interviews with farmers discussing their grievances.
But after the protests spilled over to at least one other city, the predictable happened on Friday: The government violently cracked down.
Security forces wielding batons, shields and guns swarmed the city’s riverbed around 4 a.m. Thursday as a group of farmers were sipping tea and chatting about protest strategy around a campfire.
The security forces had used a megaphone to tell farmers they had 10 minutes to evacuate, Hassan Tavakoli, a 47-year-old farmer from Isfahan, said in a telephone interview. His account was backed up by several videos that were shared with The New York Times by Isfahan residents."